Context Sensitive Solutions (CSS) and the Placemaking movement make great bedfellows. That’s what PPS believes, and apparently over 800 practitioners and policymakers agree.

Eight hundred was the number of individuals who registered for the booked-solid Streets as Places webinars presented a few weeks ago by Gary Toth, Senior Director of Transportation Initiatives, and Kate Rube, Transportation Program Manager at PPS. Streets as Places explores how Placemaking can be integrated into transportation processes, highlights the achieved outcomes from national examples, and backs it up with evidence including improved performance on both place-based and traditional transportation metrics. Gary and Kate’s presentation clearly resonated with the audience, as seen in the lively Q&A session that followed.

In any community, streets are the most fundamental and plentiful public spaces. / Photo: PPS

Registration for both the November 21 presentation and the December 18th encore filled up within 48 hours of being announced, making this our most popular webinar to date. Fortunately, for those who didn’t snatch a spot, a recording of the webinar is now available for free online at ContextSensitiveSolutions.org, along with an archive of 18 other fantastic webinars available to the public ranging from ADA compliance to urban forestry, roundabouts to climate change.

The Federal Highway Administration’s Context Sensitive Solutions Clearinghouse, managed by PPS, hosted the webinar. If the term Context Sensitive Solutions is unfamiliar to you, CSS is defined as:

“a collaborative, interdisciplinary, holistic approach to the development of transportation projects. It is both process and product, characterized by a number of attributes. It involves all stakeholders, including community members, elected officials, interest groups, and affected local, state, and federal agencies. It puts project needs and both agency and community values on a level playing field and considers all trade–offs in decision making. Often associated with design in transportation projects, Context Sensitive Solutions should be a part of all phases of program delivery including long range planning, programming, environmental studies, design, construction, operations, and maintenance.”

CSS considers the people and places served and connected by a transportation facility when it is being planned, designed and built. Streets as Places is explicitly and fundamentally aligned with CSS. If Streets as Places is the vision, CSS is a process to realize it.

If you’d like to find out more about CSS, please sign up to receive webinar updates and newsletters. The January edition of the newsletter will be coming out this Thursday, so Register Below.

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Special thanks to Shana Baker with the Office of Human Environment and Rod Vaughn, Environmental Program Specialist at FHWA for moderating the recent webinars, to INDUS Corporation, and to FHWA’s Surface Transportation Environment and Planning Cooperative Research Program (STEP).